Only Applicants with No Reviews

I have tried twice now to get an experienced sitter for my next trip. However, all I am getting is people who do not have any reviews. I understand that everyone has to start somewhere. When I have given people that opportunity I have been less happy. Is there some kind of selection going on or are all the experienced sitters already sitting? Is THS selecting their new signees preference?
What is your experience?



Just a guess but if if your dates are soon, maybe more experienced sitters are already booked? From my perspective as someone new to the site, I am very eager to apply when I see a listing that seems like a good fit, so maybe we’re just faster out of the gate. Do the sitters with no reviews at least have references you can contact?

I can’t speak to your other questions, but I can share my personal experience.

My area is not a “destination” or particularly exciting, which makes it less popular overall, which I think makes it more appealing for local new sitters trying to get their foot in the door. I have gotten a good amount of applications from 0-1 review sitters, and I have twice now booked sitters with zero previous reviews (though one did have a sit scheduled a couple days before mine began). I’ve only ever had great experiences with THS sitters, and fingers crossed that trend continues!

In all cases I requested external references if they weren’t already in their profile. Not all were willing/able to do so, which I think is a pretty low bar-- after all, I can’t imagine anyone signing up for this site without having SOME pet experience, be it growing up with one or interacting with a family/friend/roommate’s pet.

I always get on a video call with prospective sitters to talk over our expectations and explain my dog’s particular brand of sensitivity. I know not every homeowner/sitter loves doing this, but I think it’s indispensable given how much more information you can exchange face-to-face.

If you’d really prefer an experienced sitter, I’d suggest sending out invites to local experienced sitters or inviting a previous sitter back. This has worked for me more often than not! I’m sure not everyone has alerts set up on their local area.

At the end of the day, I’m not at all opposed to booking a Rover housesitter/boarder if I don’t find a sitter I feel comfortable with on THS.


Some had references

I agree with Adelia’s suggestion of finding local sitters. I’ve had good luck with locals with great reviews. Asking applicants without reviews to provide outside references is never a bad idea. Still, I politely decline if they are unwilling to provide references and direct me to their Airbnb.
Airbnb reviews don’t say anything about their experience with pets. I also learned to look for people with experience with dogs, specifically smaller breeds. I’d ask them for references now if they only have reviews of HO with cats.


@Agelesswanderlust I would agree with others that reaching out to local sitters with, or without references, is a good idea. One big advantage is you could arrange a meet up before committing to them and see how they interact with your pets Even if they have little experience if your pets takes to them right away you could be on to a winner!
I also agree that if a sitter with no THS reviews does not willingly offer external references that’s a red flag. These days sitters can also add FB and Instagram accounts too, i believe. All reviews/refs can help you build a picture of a sitter. If someone new really wants to sit for you they should be as transparent as possible.

When we started out- about 5 years ago- i had practically no pet care experience. I had gerbils as a kid and I rode horses till about age 14 then- for the next 40 years -nothing!! I I was really not a pet person at all- but I wanted to become one!! We got 2 character references and off we went. Our first sit was not a typical first sit-not local or short!- it was an international sit for one month over Christmas with 2 cats. The hosts were new too and since we were both flying in/out we all took a big risk! But it all went perfectly! Now 70 sits later we are super experienced with all sorts of animals and homes in many different countries. I’m grateful for our first hosts for putting their trust in us!
The most important piece of advice I could offer is to always go with your gut. If anything at all feels off, withdraw.
If you can’t meet a potential sitter have a video call or at the very least, a phone call. Ask all the questions you need to untill you are completely satisfied.
Good luck!


I have found this as more of an issue since we got the 5 applicants limit.


You do know you can decline the first five applicants, then you will get 5 more? I agree that anyone who can’t provide a single reference from anyone, friends or family, is best avoided.


Some have outside referrals.

1 Like

Yes, Christie. I declined the first five and the next 5 had 1 with actual reviews.


Good advice. We have been doing this for a while both as hosts and as sitters. I have a pretty good idea of what works for us. And when I haven’t gone with with my gut I have been disappointed.
Right. Ow, for personal reasons, I have absolutely no bandwidth to deal with this. The reason that the sit is in 2 1/2 weeks.
I need someone I can trust to know what to do. Especially in looking after a house.
I’m not unreasonable, I just want to come home to a clean home , an happy cat ( it’s a very easy sit) and not be lied to about whether something was done or not.


Hi @Agelesswanderlust. Sorry you are having issues. As a relatively new sitter myself (a year sitting) I am grateful HO’s took a chance on me.
Can I ask what you class as an experienced sitter? is it length of time on THS? Reviews? Age of applicant(s)? References?

It’s a combination. I have taken a chance on people. In general the successful sits have been with more senior couples who have a number of reviews on THS.
I don’t put a lot on references by family and friends.
My husband and I usually make these decisions together, but he just passed on our last trip, so it’s up to me.
I recognize we all start somewhere.


Hi @Agelesswanderlust. I’m so sorry your husband passed. I think about how my mom had to step things up even more after my dad passed unexpectedly.

I can understand lack of bandwidth at this stage. To answer your original questions, I haven’t heard of any kind of selection going on.

Some ideas with respect to your situation:

  1. For now, consider a paid service, like Rover.
  2. Or stick with TH and: Your sit sounds popular, so just stick to your guns and decline anyone who doesn’t fit. If you don’t have the energy to evaluate a sitter with X reviews, then just decline them.
    1. Once you have less than 5 applicants, you should be able to unpause. If not, let us know. Regardless, you’ll eventually get one applicant who meets your current baseline, and hopefully that will be a good fit.
  3. You can also “head this off at the pass” by putting a note in your listing at the top. Like, “Usually, I would entertain all applicants. However, I don’t have the bandwidth right now, so please apply only if you have X, Y, and Z. I’m sorry, but others will be automatically declined.”

Take care,


Absolutely go with your gut.
It needs to work for you and feel right, otherwise you’ll be stressed the whole time while away.
Where are you located?


Thank you Geoff. Those are good suggestions.


Sorry for your loss @Agelesswanderlust , I can only imagine how this decision is overwhelming for you at a time like this .

It’s great that you have reached out to the forum. You might well find that the experienced sitter that you are looking for is right here on this forum . If you can post a link to your sit on your forum profile, forum members will be able to see it . - This link tells you how to do this .

  • alternatively one of the moderators maybe able to help you do this .

@Carla_C @Debbie-L ?

1 Like

Hi @Agelesswanderlust I am so sorry for your loss and can only imagine how stressful managing this alone must be. If you add your listing to your Forum profile (Admins can do this for you) more members in the community can “meet” you and the adorable Desi.

You have had some wonderful feedback and support from our members I sincerely hope that it has helped.

Vancouver is beautiful (as the BC Tourist Board quite rightly says) and you have great sitter feedback

“She is a quiet sweetheart who loves a cuddle, a brush, treat games, and sleeping. We enjoyed excellent communication with Gaye, made the most of their condo’s central location near Granville Island, and appreciated the special welcome touches they provided. It was wonderful not needing a car because we could walk everywhere or take transit”

Just from my own experience I never used to consider young or new sitters until a couple applied for my Vancouver sit (3 months, no pets) the application/profile and all communication was professional, considered, understanding, friendly and personalized … one reference, no THS reviews but everything about this couple felt right.

While I went with my instinct I used all of the information available to make an educated and informed decision and it worked beautifully, I returned to spotless home just as I had left it, a fully valeted car and a hand made quilt left as a “Thank you for your trust” gift.

The sitters were 23 & 24 mine was their second sit, but they had not received their first review when they applied.

The experience taught me that it’s attitude, intent and purpose that’s important and from experience plus my own sitter attitude to what I do and why I do it, the dedication and desire to do the best you can remains the same whether an applicant has 1 or 100 reviews.

Choosing a sitter is very personal and should be managed in a way that makes everyone comfortable giving all involved the very best experience possible.


Hi @Agelesswanderlust I’ve already posted to you above but now I’ve just seen @Angela_L reply to your post. I see that you are in Vancouver. My sister lives there and I’m always interested in Vancouver sits that might coincide with a potential family visit. I don’t see your listing linked here yet but if you do link it I’ll favourite it for future reference!
And as others have said I’m so very sorry for your recent loss :pray:


So sorry for your loss. Can’t imagine how difficult that must be.

Our first housesitters were first time sitters with personal references. They are young (27ish). We had a video meeting and really liked them. They were mature, caring, and trustworthy. We didn’t have references as TH HO yet, so we took a chance on each other.

We recently invited them back for their fourth sit with us. They are wonderful, and have become friends. They have lots of energy to spend hiking with our dog and playing with him. He loves it when they come. They keep our house spotless, too.

Don’t be discouraged by first time sitters or youthful sitters. You can learn a lot via a video call, the questions they ask, and their motivations for sitting. Trust your instincts, but consider at interviewing potential new sitters with personal references.

Good luck.